Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Monday 23 June 2014

Table cards and run numbers.

Now that Victoria Street has more operational flexibility since the installation of DCC, the concept of prototypical operation (timetabling) now looks more appealing, trams being by nature are a single running locomotive, running with very tight headways with others, using shared road space with other traffic and adhering to their own rules amongst themselves in regards to procedures and processes.

I spotted this online at vicsig, it involves the magic and the mayhem behind tramway operations, each tram is given a run number when in service and is operated by the driver by their instructions on a table card.

The table card is the 'job sheet' of the drivers duties for the day, time of departure, checkpoints 'en route',  meal breaks and other duties as delegated.

The run number is the schedule of work/service the tram is on, (similar to aircraft flight numbers, a designated service between point A and point B at a certain time by a certain airline), in this case the run number exists for that reason for the responsibility of the operating depot/service for that tram.

In days of yore, the run number and depot was displayed on a 'plate' that was hung on the leading near side window of the cab, mainly for the benefit of the relieving driver and/or inspector, (who would be supervising scheduling.)

W5 782 parked up at the siding at West Maribyrnong
(Note E21[Essendon 21] on the plate)
photo courtesy of trams downunder 
Now for operational reasons, I am not going to install incredibly small run numbers to my fleet, a small white/chalk board with the tram number matched to a run number. (eg 782-E21 as above) should suffice.(Did you picture model trams with post-it notes on them? I did)
The 'depot' that 'operates' Victoria Street is the fictitious 'Westside Depot' and for some unknown reason has the letter allocation of  'F' (go figure!). I have (with much infuriation) developed an excel spread sheet with some sort of a series of table cards that co-inside with run numbers that 'may' permit the multiple operation of services.
Run No table no 1 run 2 run 3
101 1 3
City (fiddleyard)down 11:36 11:00 11:30
Railway station 11:39 11:03 11:33
Racecourse 11:40 11:04 11:34
Racecourse 11:46 11:10 11:40
Railway station 11:47 11:11 11:41
City (fiddleyard)up **** 11:14 11:44
City (fiddleyard)down **** 11:45 12:15
Railway station 11:55 11:48 12:18
Racecourse 11:56 11:49 12:19
Racecourse 12:02 11:55 12:25
Railway station 12:03 11:56 12:26
City (fiddleyard)up **** 11:59 12:29

Like all well choreographed masterpieces,(as in life and in art), this may and will turn to dust at the drop of a hat, and that's when the fun really kicks in, trying to get this all to work on a 3:1 fast clock and then trying to adjust running when 'stuff' happens.

I'm looking forward to giving it a crack.

From under the paperwork, and under the wires.

PS. The works are continuing with the DCC bus conversion quite nicely. thanks for asking.


Sunday 1 June 2014

Cutting the umbilical cord

I have now entered the final phase of converting Victoria Street to DCC operation, the block wiring that was initially was installed for DC operation has not been fully utilised since the adaption to DCC. This has been part of the plan since early last year!

There were seven blocks on Victoria Street, each block was wired to a DPDT switch with a centre off position, which allowed two controllers to control two trams at one time, since the adaption to DCC, all switches have been thrown to one side; therefore one controller, the powercab.

The infrastructure to support this arrangement resembled a rats nests of wiring and terminal strips, which when I took Victoria Street on the road or removed a module for some work, made it feel like I was reinstating a telephone exchange after a natural disaster.

So therefore, I have now bitten the bullet, and now in the process installing a DCC bus with plugs at either side of the modules for a more flexible and quicker setup and pull down arrangement. The bus wire is sourced from 2.5mm* domestic household TPI, (if it can handle 16A at 240V AC, it will handle DCC!)

Out with the old, the block panel and its umbilical cord.
However DC has not completely been removed from the equation, a DPDT switch has been installed including a DIN socket so the 'Cashless and Broke' inertia DC controller can control the layout if I wish to run one tram (at a time) that has not been chipped yet (a new purchase).

A new addition on the NCE PCP.
The Railway Station module is the first module getting all the attention, and now it is the master module, in the process the pub received some more detail to its lighting, inside and out.
Rocking out at the Railway Hotel with its neon sign and disco lights.
At the moment Victoria Street is currently a diorama.

The next modules to get the 'treatment' will be the Racecourse and the Fiddle yard, so I can still run some trams while The Bend and The Gates undergo a retro fit of lighting and bus wire.
From under the wires and with the smell of hot solder.